Eternal Life

Eternal Walk.jpg

"No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants." - Jn 3:13-21

"After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth." - John 17:1-3

In confirmation class, I often ask students, "What is eternal life?" Though the question may sound simple, the answer is not simple at all.

Some people think eternal life means we will never die. But funeral processions and cemeteries show that death is a fact we can't escape in this world. Others suggest that eternal life means "going to heaven." Then, of course, we need to define heaven and ask whether eternal life involves our bodies as well as our souls.

John 17 offers a different definition of eternal life. Jesus shows that eternal life is first of all about knowing God. It's about having a relationship with God.

Now this knowing is not simply knowing about God, or simply admitting that God exists. Knowing God means being intimately connected with God. And the key component to that connection involves knowing Jesus Christ, whom the Father has sent into this world to reconcile us to himself.

Though Christ promises Paradise to all who trust in him, eternal life is not first about getting to heaven. Nor is it first about living forever, though in Christ we look forward to life in a new creation. Eternal life begins already today. That's why we nurture this new life in God through prayer and Bible study. That's why we get rid of behaviors that set up roadblocks to God's presence.

Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life. Help us to find true life today in our relationship with you and your Father. Amen.
May 14 2017